Sexual Abuse by a loved family member
Risk Hurting Others, Keep Letting Ourselves Be Hurt?
We are lucky enough to come into this world. Not one of us asks to be here but we end up here. If you are raised old school, you are taught that you are just a child, not meaning or worth much, nor is your feelings, wants, fears, anything. You are taught to respect every adult, look up to and listen to adults. We love our mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, grandparents. So what happens when we as children experience something from another adult loved one, family member that is a little off, we know that something somewhere went wrong, we are not sure what or how or why it happened but we know that it happened. We find someone to confide in, another family member that we trust and when we share our experience with an aunt, then we are told that we just had a bad dream that it didn't really happen. So we take it to some other family members that we trust, our cousins whom are close to our age all older but ranging from 3 to 7 years older. When we share our experience with our cousins one in particular says yes, she had experienced something similar, then she chooses to make it a game, she suggests that you both go around this person and hug him from the side and start rubbing his back and see what he does in return. You agree, your only 7 what do you really know anyway, while your cousin is 11. When you do go to the garage and you both put your arms around him and start rubbing his back, he in return rubs your back and decides to go below the pants line closer to your bottom. You now go back and discuss this with your cousin whom experienced the same thing. Still you wonder what just happened? What is going on? As time progresses, you are asked to come over to help this person with work in the garage, building things, carpentry, etc. He wants to spend time with you and shows you all kinds of cool things, but meanwhile there is a catch, he tells you that you are his special one, he asks you to touch him in places and he expects that you will allow him also to touch you in places. This man is looked up to and admired by everyone, including yourself, he is such a hard worker, he has served his country in the Navy, he has earned a great living, been a great provider, he has perfect credit, lots of friends, drinks socially, has a boat goes fishing, he is just like me and you with the exception of this secret that he and you have that you are expected to keep. You love the person and you don't want to hurt him or get him into any trouble, he hasn't physically had sex with you, but he has used his fingers, his mouth, and you have been expected to use your hands to fondle him and mouth also. As you get older you realize this isn't right and you want it to stop happening, but if you ask him to stop then you will be hurting his feelings, and again you are his special one. You can't tell your mom because she looks up to and admires and loves this man more than anything else in the world. Everyone loves him, including you. You try to avoid going over there as much as you did but without raising any suspicion, it seems pretty much impossible. You tell your cousin the one who has experienced the same thing just not to the same extent, she tells you just to tell him to stop, but you are very easily manipulated, and you know if you were to tell him to stop he would twist things around on you and end up making you feel guilty and wrong for ever wanting or asking him to stop. So you realize that you want out, you don't want to hurt anyone you just want out, so you run away, you tell some of your school friends, you want to continue going to school you want to have a life you just want a life away from him and your mom and everyone in your family because you don't want to hurt them. Meanwhile your friend that you confide in ends up telling there parents, which in return end up telling your parents, then when the police do find you and take you back home, your mom says that you and her really need to talk, she then proceeds to ask you about her father and the things he did, at that time if there is any sincerity or truth in someone being abused it's pretty much obvious, once confronted the fear, shame, guilt, tears just flow, it's pretty much written all over your face, there is no denying it then. But you are not happy that your mom knows the truth, because you love her and you know that this will hurt her, you don't want her to have to choose you just figured you'd make the choice for her and be out of her life.
This is just the beginning, you feel guilty you are scared what is going to happen, but then you also wonder what if she does nothing? It just so happens that your mom has 4 other sisters, so she tells her sisters, and one of them named Mary, says that she will have a talk with him and it will end. You never actually talk to your Aunt, this has all been told to you by your mother, so knowing that your grandfather has been confronted, being 11 or 12 years old not really knowing how to act but you expected to go back around him and act or pretend that nothing happened. I do this for about 6 months, then one day while sitting in the car with him while my grandmother went into Bi-Lo to get a few groceries, he looks back at me and asks me why did I ever tell on him, feeling horrible and like I really betrayed him and let him down, it starts back again. But this time it's a little different, it progresses more, he buys and gives me cigarettes, and one time even bought alcohol for me and my girlfriends. All with the stipulation that I keep touching him and letting him touch me, and do things to me. I still wasn't right, I did run away probably 7 more times, I however gave no reason, they didn't want to know the truth anyway, they just wanted me to suck it up and go on like nothing ever happened. There was one last incident in which he came really close to having sex with me, that was the last draw for me, after that I did run away again, I did go to the police and I got put into DSS custody, and a foster home. My parents were pretty upset, my mother had not told my father up into this point he was in the dark. It was all to be swept under the rug and kept hush, hush. I do believe that I have left out a few parts, my parents had me going to see a psychiatrist once a week, or maybe twice, it has been a long time ago, but every visit which lasted an hour long, he would talk and I would just sit there and cry, most of the time or smile, I couldn't tell him what was going on, he would tell my mom and again, she didn't want to know the truth. Anyway I was appointed a guardian of light-em, foster parents which I got switched around to 3 different ones, and had to change schools more than once. It was very hard, I still didn't want to get him in trouble or anyone for that matter I just wanted it to stop I wanted away from it, I felt numb, I cried, missed my parents my mom, dad, and my baby sister, but I didn't miss what my grandfather was doing to me nor did I miss having such a fake family.
The Foster Home and DSS
So this is no fun, you are uncomfortable going into these people's houses with different ways of living. It's scary, you feel alone, and like you just don't belong. Now that the law and the state are involved, they have given strict orders to your parents that in order for you to come back home which will take a while. Your parents are forbidden to take you or your younger sister around this man ever again. While nothing happened to your sister thank God, that doesn't mean that it wouldn't have ever. Meanwhile your grandmother hates you, of course your grandfather now hates you, your Aunts and Uncles all hate you, your cousins hate you and even your mom deep down inside blames you because now her family has all shunned her. I told the truth and I had to pay for it dearly, I had to watch the ones I loved suffer, and be mad at me and I never wanted that. After spending nearly 3 months in a foster home we finally went to court, it was scary my grandfather was there and he kept his sunglasses on the whole time, my mom, my dad whom was really upset because he really didn't know about any of this, you know he isn't even my biological father, because my biological father committed suicide when I was 2. So this man whom isn't even my blood loved and cared about me enough and actually cared that this had happened to me more so than my own blood did. I really do love my father and he is and will always be my Dad. So after testifying my grandfather had to go to counseling for 5 years and serve like a probation period to where he couldn't leave the state, anyway even though everyone tells you its not your fault and you didn't cause it. Inside we always feel responsible for what they did to us, we always feel like it is our fault. Living with my mom and watching her cry was no fun, periodically she would ask me if I was sure that it happened. And yes I was sure that it happened, I didn't understand my own behavior, I never turned to drugs, but I started smoking and drinking alcohol at an early age. Alcohol helped with my painful emotions and smoking was like my friend it was always there for me. In reality that couldn't be further from the truth.
Believe in yourself. Trust yourself
Even though you are scared, stay strong and true to yourself. Even if the truth will hurt someone else its not your fault, you didn't cause an adult to do the things that he or she did to you. They are responsible they are the adults. It's not your job to protect an adult who is abusing you, its not your fault and more than likely you are not the first nor the last one that they will victimize. Sexual abuse is not about sex it is about domination, intimidation, humiliation, they feel powerful while you feel pitiful, and helpless. I do not believe that sexual abuse is about a man being attracted to a young girl who hasn't even developed breast yet. Its about being dominant, having control over, manipulation, they feel powerless over there lives in other areas so they make up for it by hurting children. God didn't put us here or bring us here to be hurt by others and ignore it, if your parents won't help you please help yourselves, it's not easy but it is worth it. Its much better than living a lie or pretending that it isn't that big of a deal, and the majority of the time if you don't tell it will happen to someone else.
Majority of the time other family members know, I left out the part where my mom admitted to being sexually abused by her father also when she was 9 years old and my grandmother made her sleep in the bed with my grandfather because she was pregnant with my Aunt Lucy and she supposedly couldn't sleep in the same bed with him. Who does that? So you can't sleep in the bed with your husband and you make your 9 year old daughter, something definitely doesn't sound right there, but my mothers reason for never saying anything is because she said that she thought my grandmother would kill my grandfather, quite the opposite I must say, my grandmother just couldn't believe that sweet little ole me would say such a thing about her husband my grandfather. Please, people will surprise you no matter what. Like I said I took the blame for everything and honestly to this day I struggle with anxiety, and fear I don't let my own children go off that much and I honestly can't say that I trust many people. I trust God but not man. And I will never be one of those people who will say oh I know such and such and they would never do anything like that. Wake up people, you don't always know others. And you never will.
Many Ignore and don't want to know the truth
How will you react
If your child becomes emotionally withdrawn
How to guarantee your child confidence
1. It is your responsibility as a parent to make sure you can handle the truth! Meaning you can not be ashamed to speak to your child about scenarios, or to discuss there body parts or to tell them what a good touch and a bad touch is. You can not be ashamed to discuss anything with your child.
2. You better be sure that you never overreact when your child tells you anything you need to reassure them in there development and the natural things or experiences they will go through.
3. Encourage your children to let you know immediately if anyone ever touches them in an inappropriate way or if someone else adult or child ever asks your child to touch them in a way that is inappropriate. Let your child know that no one will get into trouble, but that they need to let you know so that you can correct a situation before it were to go any further, but assure them that you will be there for them and believe them, and it's not there fault.
4. Don't get weird or uncomfortable talking to your children, if you aren't comfortable with discussing certain things how can you expect them to be.
5. Repetition especially when they are young the younger the better, go over and over with them how no one is supposed to touch there private parts, and how if anyone ever asks them to touch there private parts that they need to say no, get away from the person and tell you.
6. Reassure them that they will not be hurting the other person or you, by coming and telling you, let them know that it's your job to protect them not the other way around. And the only way you can do your job is if they do there part also.
7. Don't ever suggest that they had a bad dream or made up anything to get attention. That would be horrible on your part as a parent and you would really emotionally hurt your child and there confidence and trust in you.
8. No matter what you are feeling inside do not show any emotion if your child confides in you, not anger, not sad, not disbelief, assure them that its ok and nothing bad is going to happen and no one is going to get into trouble and that they didn't cause it and take care of it and mean it. Don't go kill someone else either, just ensure your child's safety, and the safety of other children.
Don't Devalue or Invalidate or Shame your child for telling the truth
I think I learned co-dependency at a young age. Always put others first, don't be selfish be kind, never hurt others. But what about when others are hurting us do we just continue to take it and take it? If you have a child and they are running away, becoming withdrawn, cutting themselves, hanging out with others who have issues whom they feel that they can bond with but you are not certain why they would choose to hang around such individuals, they are trying to bond. They are trying to form a connection, they don't have one with the immediate family, the don't feel like they fit in, they are looking for love in others. We all need love and unconditional love, especially as children. All children will make mistakes, loose things, spill things, loose there temper and say things a lot of that is part of growing and being human. What they need to know is that they do matter, there feelings matter, there experience good and bad matter. They are not worthless, God loves them and so do there parents. That is all they really want anyway. True, Sincere, Unselfish, Unconditional love. And to feel apart of a family that truly loves them.